Carnival Legend Cruise Review by H&J
- Sail Date: February 2011
- Destination: Western Caribbean
- Cabin Type: Extended Balcony
Our room steward was friendly, efficient and non-obtrusive. He always seemed to be on the job from early morning till late at night.
Our dining room waiter (Alexander) and his assistant (Anton) hustled and got the food served as quickly as it arrived at their station. They were friendly, knowledgeable about the menu and served the various courses in a timely manner. Alexander was incredibly diplomatic and had the patience of Job despite the rude, condescending and boorish behavior of another couple seated with us. I truly understand why people from the South dislike "Yankees" or in this case "faux Yankees". I discretely apologized and explained not all Americans are like that.
The waitstaff in the steakhouse were equally friendly, knowledgeable and hard working. I never saw them stand still, they were constantly on the move. If I remember correctly, one lady was named Valentina. They were from Belarus and Croatia and very pleasant.
All the other "front line" employees we had contact with were polite and always seemed to have a smile despite their working conditions. The officers on the other hand seemed aloof.
We understood the waitstaff and stewards gratuities are automatically billed to our "fun account" but we supplemented that with cash; they seemed truly surprised. In the steakhouse we practiced the 20% standard for the gratuity as they earned it.
As to the other aspects:
The food was cafeteria quality. I don't blame the cooks. They prepare according to Carnival instructions with ingredients provided by Carnival. Both the main dining room and buffet serve basically the same food. I found the food bland and "institutional". On paper it (the menu) looked good but in execution, it failed to deliver.
The steakhouse was a mixed bag. The tuna appetizer I had could have been served as an entree if the marinate used was cut by 90% and tuna not diced. The tuna was light, mildly flavorful and a pleasant surprise. Ditch the marinate. The steak was on the tough side with more gristle than I expected. Also the steak looked less than "prime". Prime shows marbling and not concentrations of fat. There is a difference. The chocolate sampler dessert was really good and I'm typically not a dessert eater. The coffee was average.
The coffee was ok, not good, just ok.
I don't consider myself a gourmet by any stretch of the imagination but I ended up losing weight by the end of the trip. Should that tell you something?
As to other aspects, the casino reeked of cigarette smoke. It really needs better ventilation.
The decor throughout the ship was depressing. The dark medieval theme was not conducive to a "fun ship". The coloring made the ship interior seem worn and dirty. The main atrium was so overdone it looked like a Mel Brooks spoof movie set. It was so ugly it was almost amusing. My first reaction was like that of Sgt. Hartman's famous line from FULL METAL JACKET, "Holy Jesus, WHAT is THAT? What the ____ is that?" You have to see it to understand.
The main dining room had these garish light fixtures attempting to replicate palm trees. They were downright butt ugly. Also I couldn't figure out why they had the red "bordello" lights around the room. I guess it was to set the mood when you tasted the food. Given the "cattle call" approach to entry to the later seating (8:15 PM) the crowd was well trained to enter at a slow trot by the end of the cruise. The "line up" just happened to have you next to a bar. Wasn't THAT convenient? Was the maitre d' smiling or smirking?
The atrium serves as an acoustic sound tube directing noise from the second deck to the tenth and right into the steakhouse. It detracted from the steakhouse dining experience in a big way. I don't know what was worse, the caterwauling of the "entertainer" down on Deck Two or the loud and obnoxious two minute "commercial" of the cruise director. Somebody needs to muzzle him.
The main dining room was always noisy during dinner. I mean noisy to the extent that you couldn't carry on a conversation in a normal tone. I blame it on poor acoustic design.
The "serenity deck" was anything but. Apparently someone got the bright idea of venting the exhaust stacks sideways instead of straight up. As result the noise comes out sideways right onto the back of the ship. Nothing like the throb of the diesels to lull you into serenity. I suppose that's the reason why they had the volume with the 60's through 80's rock mix on the loudspeakers cranked up. Diesel roar with the "music of your life" made me glad we sprung for a larger balcony room to escape the din.
One amusing sound though, it was the sound coming from the men's room urinal near the pool. It made this strange rhythmic whooshing sound. It was like the sound of the Japanese destroyers overhead in the movie, RUN SILENT RUN DEEP. For a moment we were back in the Bungo Straits.
Now for my personal pet peeve. Do you HAVE to eat with a baseball cap on? Why not wear your "wifebeater" with the mustard stain on the front to complete the look? I guess I missed the part where I was supposed to pack my "formal" baseball cap for the two "elegant" nights.
I am far more tolerant of whiney, sugar charged, sticky fingered children than their out of control parents. Where were those parents anyway? "Out of sight, out of mind."
Most of my complaints are centered around bad decisions by Carnival management back in Miami or wherever they are centered. I don't blame the "front line" troops; the stewards, waitstaff and service personnel, they make the best of what they are provided to work with. In fact, they do incredibly well under the circumstances.
Will I cruise with Carnival again? Sure, right after I view Haley's Comet again.
I suppose some will say I'm some bitter old man. Actually, I prefer to relish the good, admonish the not so good and not go into a state of denial when things don't turn out as expected. There will be other cruises, other lines, I remain optimistic.
Like I said, I really wanted this to be a great vacation. But, like going to a carnival, I guess it is all about convincing yourself you are having a good time. "Step right up Mister and knock over the milk bottles, three balls for a dollar, win the lovely lady a prize." Like W.C. Fields said to his daughter in the movie, POPPY, "If we should ever separate, my little plum, I want to give you just one bit of fatherly advice: Never give a sucker an even break!"
Mind you, these are merely my opinions and not to be relied upon one iota. Experience it all yourself, then draw your own conclusions.
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I found the room safe system another example of a bad decision by Carnival management. The safe required use of another mag strip credit card other than your room card. This defeats the purpose of a cruise ship safe,i.e., leave everything of any value locked up. The safe should have had a keypad system instead of requiring a person to carry their room card and that additional credit card.
The toilet sounded like you could flush a whole head of cabbage down it but I wouldn't recommend trying it.
Turning on the television always defaulted to a loud verses soft volume. I found this irritating.
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